- About 500 terrorists were waiting to infiltrate into India, he said
- His remarks come days before PM Modi's address at UNGA
- Yesterday at the mega "Howdy, Modi!" event, PM took on Pakistan
Here are top 10 points on this big story:
"Let me tell you, Balakot has been re-activated by Pakistan, very recently. This shows Balakot was affected, it was damaged and destroyed; it highlights some action was taken by the Indian Air Force at Balakot and now they have got the people back there," General Rawat said in Chennai, speaking to reporters at the Officers Training Academy. "It highlights that some action had been taken by Indian Air Force and now they have got the people back there," he added.
Asked about the possibility of a similar strike after a revamped Balakot, General Rawat said: Why must you expect repeat of a similar thing, earlier we did something, then we did Balakot, why must we repeat? Why not keep the other side guessing as to what we will do? Why tell him what we are going to do, why not keep him guessing, why say repeat, why not something beyond that?"
The Army Chief's comments come days before Prime Minister Narendra Modi is to address the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), where he may take up Pakistan's support to terrorists attacking India. Yesterday, at the mega "Howdy, Modi!" event in Houston, where he shared a stage with US President Donald Trump, the PM took on Pakistan and said it was time to fight against terrorism and those who supported terror. "Whether it is 9/11 in America or 26/11 in Mumbai, where are its conspirators found? Not just you, the whole world knows who these people are," he said without naming Pakistan.
Before the PM's address, President Trump endorsed India's need for "border security" and said: "Border security is vital to the United States. Border security is vital to India, we understand that." He also pledged to fight "radical Islamic terrorism".
On February 26, a dozen French-origin Mirage 2000 jets of the Indian Air Force penetrated deep inside Pakistan and bombed the terror group Jaish-e-Mohammad camp in response to a terror attack in which a suicide bomber detonated a car bomb near a convoy of the paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama, killing 40 soldiers.
At the UN later this week, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, set to speak after PM Modi, is likely to try and bring up India's August 5 move to scrap special status to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 and divide it into two Union Territories, and the government's massive security and communication restrictions since then.
On being asked whether there was a communication breakdown in the valley, the Army Chief said, "There is a communication breakdown between terrorists in the Kashmir Valley and their handlers in Pakistan but there is no communication breakdown amongst people. All the telephones lines have been opened up."
Pakistan's move to re-activate the Balakot Jaish camp belies its commitment to the international community on not giving shelter to terrorists on its soil.
Pakistan has been placed on an "enhanced blacklist" by the global terror finance watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF). A 15-month deadline for Pakistan to act on FATF's 27-point action plan, which includes arresting terrorists and freezing their fund sources, ends in October.
Not meeting the FATF's target will lead to Pakistan being downgraded by the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and Asian Development Bank, besides facing negative assessments by credit rating agencies such as Moody's, Standard & Poor's and Fitch. This will add to the financial burden of Pakistan, which is seeking aid from all possible international sources to overcome an economic slowdown.